Kimia Sun was born a refugee. Her parents were survivors of Cambodia’s Khmer Rogue, which claimed nearly 2 million lives in the late 1970s. The couple was among the lucky ones and escaped to a refugee camp in Thailand, where Sun was born and spent her first months. Next, the family traveled to the Philippines, where Sun’s parents learned English and purchased plane tickets for America.
The famed Holocaust memoir, translated into Khmer, strikes an all-too-familiar theme for a people who felt the genocidal wrath of a despotic regime.
I can vividly remember the first time I visited the Museum of Tolerance, in seventh grade. Not personally knowing anyone who had survived the Holocaust, I had been shielded from the grisly details of World War II.
The inspiration for "Holly," a docudrama about child sex-trafficking, came as Israeli-born producer Guy Jacobson inadvertently wandered into a notorious red light district in the Cambodian capital of Phnom Penh five years ago.
Amnesia of the past foreshadows amnesia of the future. Forget yesterday's tragedy and the threat to tomorrow is denied. Forget the first genocide of the 20th century -- the murder of 1.5 million Armenians in 1915 -- and the memory and atrocities of the first genocide of the 21st century in Darfur turn invisible, and the world response is muted.
The juxtaposition of a Jew (Schanberg) and a Cambodian with the defaced Star of David subtly links the Holocaust, a genocide of the past, to the more recent Cambodian tragedy.
It is the synchronicity between peoples who have been massacred that inspired the Los Angeles Museum of the Holocaust to exhibit "Encountering the Cambodian Genocide." The exhibit features the photographs of Chantal Prunier, who visited Cambodia in the past year and came back with haunting images of mass graves, torture devices and survivors.